So now the Senate is going to try its hand at passing a bailout plan. [Read more]
OK, I was wrong. Really wrong. I was sure politicians would approve this bailout bill, no matter how publicly unpopular it was. The short-term risks of not doing something seemed too enormous - a complete freeze of the credit markets and the subsequent collapse of the economic system that relies so heavily on that free flow of credit. [Read more]
OK, the market's up big. The bailout plan is about to be unveiled. What does it all mean? Here are my thoughts.
We've been told for so long that everything is OK with the economy. Nothing to see here, they've said. McCain calls the economy fundamentally strong; his economic adviser calls the American people a bunch of whiners; Greenspan says we are nearing the bottom of the housing meltdown; Barney Frank dismisses the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as overstated. [Read more]
The SEC has banned short-selling on financial stocks. The Treasury has guaranteed money market funds and is cooking up plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to buy distressed assets and save troubled banks. The market has rebounded huge, taking back all of this month's losses.
So are we all clear??
Hardly. [Read more]
Whoo-boy. Another fun day on Wall Street. I just got done watching another episode of Jim Cramer's Mad Money and I gotta vent a little bit here.
I like Cramer. A lot of people think he's a buffoon, but I think he's incredibly smart, and he entertains and informs like few others in the business. And there is no denying his stellar record as a hedge fund manager in his former career (though I would venture that a lot of the practices he now rails against as a voice for the common man- like naked short selling - helped contribute to a lot of that performance). [Read more]
Many people want to know how this country got into its current economic mess. The news this weekend that some of Wall Street's biggest, most prestigious financial institutions (Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, AIG) are failing and need to be rescued will raise many more questions.
Of course, the full story is quite complicated, but one of the main drivers behind the current problems is the housing crisis, and the fact that these institutions allowed many homeowners to take on way more debt than they could handle. [Read more]
Originally published on Aug. 2, 2008
Truman Burbank is agitated. The main character from the movie The Truman Show is increasingly suspicious that something's terribly amiss in his made-for-TV world, and his 'wife' tries to calm him down with a cup of 'mococa.'
"All natural," she tells him, holding the package of cocoa up to one of the millions of hidden cameras filming Truman's life without his knowledge. "Cocoa beans from the upper slopes of Mount Nicaragua ... I've tasted other cocoas. This is the best." [Read more]
My dad is an eternal optimist, one of those turn-lemons-into-lemonade people. And yeah, it sometimes annoys the living shit out of me.
Time for a short self-congratulatory post (For if I don't do it, who will?).
Right before the Fourth of July, I wrote that the price of oil was a bubble waiting to be pricked and nearing a short-term top. In the past three weeks, the price of oil has fallen by about $20 bucks a barrel, or almost 15 percent, a huge move by any standard. In terms of daily closing prices, July 3rd ended up being the exact top. [Read more]
As a native St. Louisan who always feels some sort of odd civic pride whenever those clever beer commercials end with a dude intoning 'Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Missouri,' I know I'm supposed to be upset about the recent acquisition by Belgium-based InBev. Yet I can't muster any passion over the loss of the historic brewer and one of my hometown's few remaining independent corporate behemoths (TWA, McDonnell Douglass, Ralston Purina all bit the dust long ago). [Read more]
OK, I know nothing about the oil market, but considering I distinctly remembering the then-CEO of Exxon-Mobil saying on CNBC that oil was way overpriced based on the fundamentals some 2-plus years and $100/barrel ago, I don't see why my lack of knowledge on the subject should keep me from commenting. [Read more]